Ken Rahal, the founder of the Matthew 25:40, has been thrilled with the community’s response to Sandhills Student Assistance doing business as Matthew 25:40 – a program helping local homeless and at-risk students.
With the community’s support, Rahal has been able to provide meals for 1,652 individuals in Moore County, including 600 at-risk students.
Seven Lakes Baptist Church recently called Rahal asking him to make an appearance on the last day of their Vacation Bible School (VBS). Worship Pastor Zach Jones called Rahal up on stage in front of about seventy students, all under the age of eleven.
After hearing of the organization, their VBS decided to gather funds to help the program. Rahal was presented with a check of $600.43 of funds the students had collected throughout the week.
“I was shocked,” Rahal said. “[I walked on stage and said,] ‘I have just three words to say to you children: Thank you, Jesus!’”
The students stood and clapped in praise of their accomplishment. It was the first time Rahal had seen such a response from a young group of children.
Because of the help from Seven Lakes and a fifty-percent discount given by Walmart, Matthew 25:40 was able to purchase shoes and summer clothing for 227 local children.
“God gets the glory,” Rahal said.
Matthew 25:40 is also supported by Chapel in the Pines, Food Lion, Jubilee Printing, and Beulah Hill Presbyterian Church.
The Chapel in the Pines has a donation tub which is full every week with donations. Food Lion in Seven Lakes provides a gift card for supplies and food every month. Jubilee Printing has provided T-shirts printed for the program free of charge.
“It just totally caught us off guard,” Rahal said. “The community is pulling together.”
On June 10th, Walmart invited Rahal to set up displays at the two entrances of the store. Rahal planned on being there from 10:00AM until 2:00PM handing out pamphlets and accepting donations. However, the response was so good that they were only able to stay until 12:30PM.
In two-and-a-half hours, Rahal had received enough donations to fill two SUVs and a pick-up truck. The supplies in total were priced at $2,242.26 – not including the $337 in cash donations.
“It was because of them that we were able to help all these kids,” he said.
The program has expanded quickly and is currently run by a board consisting of twelve members. Matthew 25:40 is currently supported by thirty-seven churches.
Kiwanis has also been supportive, including member Buddy Spong who was able to get a grant of $4,000 for the cause from United Way.
“He has been very instrumental in this,” Rahal said.
The program has expanded to several states including Tennesee, South Carolina, and Georgia. Rahal will be traveling to Florida in the next week to help guide the start of the program in schools there.
When helping Georgia with the program, he was unaware of how severe homelessness was in the area. In Gwinnett County, where the program was implemented, there are 179 schools with 188,000 students. 82,000 of those students are homeless.
“The program is going berserk,” he said.
Rahal will continue to implement the program as well as help oversee it in other states. He will travel to each state once a month to ensure that IRS protocol is being followed.
“I’m just a servant,” he explained. “If I had anything to do about it, there would be no hungry homeless children in our country.”
To learn more about Matthew 25:40, search “Moore County’s Homeless” at TheSevenLakesInsider.com.
Community members can help by donating time and funds to the program. For more information, contact Ken Rahal at (910) 603-9768 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Checks can be made to Matthew 25:40 at PO Box 2154, Southern Pines, NC 28388. Contact Ken Rahal about receiving a tax receipt.